Penang redeems itself…

With no jerky and 94% humidity, Penang was on shaky ground, but we gave it a another shot and it came through for us.

This morning we visited DB Schenker, one of the world’s largest logistic companies.  Penang is at the heart of the southeast Asian electronics industry and DBS is well positioned to be part of that.  After our visit and warehouse tour, DBS took us to a local seafood restaurant for a terrific lunch.  Plus 1 for Penang.  Thanks to Ivy Lee and her colleagues for their hospitality.

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Soon, everyone will be dressing like this.

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At Tambun Seafood.  In southeast Asia, the best food is not at the fancy restaurants, but rather places like this.  We’re sitting at plastic tables with basically an awning over us.  The place has barely a gravel driveway.  But the seafood is fresh and delicious.

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We found RotiBoy!  We had to hire a van to take us to an out of the way shopping mall, but we scored some RotiBoys.  Plus 2 for Penang.

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Temple Wars!!  We’re at the the Thai Buddhist Temple, which is across the street from the Burmese Buddhist Temple.  I didn’t get to visit the Burmese temple.  I was walking around in the blazing sun, looking for jerky.

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And I found it!  It isn’t from the same store that I usually go to, but we ate half of what we bought right there in the street and it was terrific.  Penang is back on firm ground, no doubt much to the relief of the city officials and the Sultan of Malaysia.

That’s it!  Tomorrow we’re on a quest for some fruit.  Stay tuned.

No Jerky?

Sometimes on these trips you have to take the rough with the smooth.  A few years back we missed going to Bangkok because of the military coup.  Once we may or may not have (temporarily) left 10 students behind in China.  These little hardships build character, but today was almost too much to bear.  My favorite jerky store was closed!

We left KL this morning for the 5 hour bus ride to Penang island.  My tradition upon reaching Penang is to take the students to get bak kwa, which is a kind of soft pork jerky originating from China.  Imagine our dismay upon arriving (after a 20 minute walk in the searing heat) only to find the store no longer there!  It was a sore blow, but we are determined to give Penang another chance.

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At least the Red Garden Food Paradise didn’t let us down.  Our first meal in Penang is always at the Red Garden, endorsed by such food luminaries as Anthony Bourdain.

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Our group consists of good eaters, but no one tops Troy for speed.  I think he’s able to unhinge his jaw.

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That’s it!  Tomorrow we visit DB Schenker.  See you in 24.

The Mah Meri

An amazing day today.  Today we visited the Mah Meri (people of the jungle) tribe out on Carey Island, on the east coast of Malaysia.  Mr. Rashid Esa is working hard to preserve the customs of these indigenous Malay people.  The tribal area is a curious mix of ancient and modern, with spirit houses and satellite dishes.  We learned a great deal about the way of life of these fascinating people.  Thanks to Rashid for hosting us.

This is our welcome to the tribe: Flower petals, a crown of palm leaf, and a ceremonial foot washing.

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Shampoo and Pewter and Dumplings..

Oh my.  Two company visits and a meal at a famous dumpling restaurant.  What could be better?  We visited Johnson and Johnson in the morning.  J&J is a multinational medical device, pharmaceutical, and consumer goods company.  The plant we visited makes mostly shampoos and lotions.  It was a supply-chain major’s dream visit.  Thanks to Mr. Mages and Ming Sze for a great visit.  This was our first, but hopefully will not be our last.

In the afternoon we visited a perennial favorite: Royal Selangor.  RS is an over 100 year old family run business, and is the largest pewter manufacturer in the world.  I have been bringing students to RS as long as I have been coming to Malaysia.  Thanks to Nigel for meeting with us and explaining RS’s mission and strategy.

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The group with Mr. Mages and Ming Sze of J&J.

Due to the length of these posts, I have started putting in a “continue reading” link.  Please don’t miss it, there’s lots more if you click the link.

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Batu and Batik!

No business visits on a Sunday, so we spent the day exploring the culture of KL.  In the morning we visited the world famous Batu Caves, one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India.

In the afternoon we headed out for some souvenir shopping and batik painting at the KL Craft Complex (which they spell Kraf Kompleks).  Batik is an ancient form of fabric painting practiced throughout Southeast Asia, thought to perhaps originate in Indonesia.

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The gang in front of Murugan, the Hindu god of war.  Yeah, he’s big.  No, he’s not made of gold.

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And the people rejoice!

The people of Kuala Lumpur, that is.  We bid a reluctant farewell to Singapore this morning and boarded a coach for the long ride to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.  KL is a bit grittier than Singapore, but the people are friendly and we are looking forward to the next stage of our adventure.

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Roti Boy!  One of the first things we do when we get to Kuala Lumpur, is get some Roti Boys.  Roti Boys are soft, light pastries that our students quickly become addicted to.  We had a minor panic when our traditional Roti Boy stall was closed.  We were ready to write off Malaysia as a lost cause, but luckily we found that it had moved across the street and after some adventurous jaywalking, were able to secure the goods.  Roti Boy stock will see a sharp increase after this week.

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Free Day!

Our last day in Singapore was a free day, and the group scattered.  I think most of them went to Sentosa Island for one thing or another.  Sentosa is an island resort off the southern coast of Singapore, and hosts beaches and other outdoor activities, an aquarium, and a Universal Studios, just to name a few things.  I’ll post pictures as I receive them from the group.  We leave tomorrow morning for Kuala Lumpur.

Sam and Nate at Universal Studios

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